Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ogilvy On Advertising

I have written several times about the value of mentors and heroes, mentioning many by name. One of the great men who has been influential in my advertising career is David Ogilvy whose first book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, changed my life. Then, in 1987 (can it really be two decades already?!!) I purchased this wonderful resource, Ogilvy On Advertising, at a bookstore in the belly of the World Trade Center in New York City. Anyone serious about advertising as a career should own a copy of this book, and study it like a Bible. For that matter, anyone who owns a business who is serious about the success of that business should own this book. It is a continuous spring of inspiration, and a perpetual prod to remain faithful to the high ideals which advertising ought to serve.

For the next several days -- if I can stay on task -- I aim to share some of my own work in advertising. But first, I wanted to tip the hat to the master in this field. Thank you, Mr. Ogilvy.

Notes and quotes from this book will hopefully encourage you to take the next step, which is to visit or Barnes & Noble to place your order. This first one I used to have on my wall. It is eternally relevant for all who wish to influence. "When Aeschines spoke, they said, 'How well he speaks.' But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, 'Let us march against Philip.'"

Insights From Ogilvy

1. "I am sometimes attacked for imposing rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. I hate rules. All I do is report on how consumers react to different stimuli. I may say to a copywriter, 'Research shows that commercials with celebrities are below average in persuading people to buy products. Are you sure you want to use a celebrity?' You call that a rule?" ~ p. 8

2. "Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant." ~ p. 16

3. On Ambition: "Few copywriters are ambitious. It does not occur to them that if they tried hard enough, they might double the client's sales, and make themselves famous. 'Raise your sight!' I exhort them. 'Blaze new trails! Hit the ball out of the park!! Compete with the immortals!!!'" ~ p. 21

4. "At the start of your career in advertising, what you learn is more important than what you earn." ~ p. 31

5. "The best leaders are apt to be found among those who have a strong component of unorthodoxy in their characters. Instead of resisting innovation, they symbolize it -- and companies cannot grow without innovation." ~ p. 51

6. "With public opinion on its side, nothing can fail." ~ Abraham Lincoln

7. Research has found that "people who know a company well are five times more likely to have a favorable opinion of it." ~ p. 117

8. "The key to successful marketing is superior product performance... If the consumer does not perceive any real benefits in the brand, then no amount of ingenious advertising a selling can save it." ~ Ed Harness

9. "You can judge the vitality of a company by the number of new products it brings to market." ~ p. 167

10. "Some products which sell well without being advertised may sell better and make more profit with advertising." p. 168

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